Nothing makes me feel more helpless than my car malfunctioning. There I was, driving down the road, when suddenly I hear a scraping noise. "Is something wrong with my tire?" I said to myself. Pulling into a rather sad looking service station, I got out and saw my muffler flat on the ground. This was not the first time my muffler has found itself in such an inelegant position. A couple of years earlier, I was forced to park at a church when the very same muffler landed with a splat on the pavement. The trouble that time was a screw snapping off from age and general displeasure. At the church, a passing nun commiserated with me and offered to say a prayer. I thanked her. She also told me about her church and how nice the services were. I thanked her again. Clearly on a roll, she continued with news about her church's upcoming thrift sale. I thanked her a third time hoping she might leave and find something nunish to do. The nun finally walked off, allowing me to pull out my cell phone to call AAA. What happened last week was the same, minus the nun.
The service station was an unlovely affair where Bob the Incredible Drunken Mechanic looked forward to ripping unfortunates off. In spite of that, no one came out to ask if I needed help with my injured muffler resting on their driveway. Fearing they would charge me outrageously, I chose not to ask Bob for help. Calling AAA, a nice lady asked if the station was a member of their company. I said I didn't think so as I saw no sign, and it didn't look very Triple A like to me. It looked more one A to me, or quite possibly two As, but not three As. She contacted a towing service to care for my problem. Since the last time my muffler collapsed, the towing guy wired my muffler up enabling me to visit my own mechanic, I told the nice lady I wanted the same thing done this time. She said "No problem!" About 20 minutes later, a young man with a disturbingly surly attitude arrived to wire my car. For one so young, and already so surly, the future didn't bode well for his middle age disposition. He asked why I thought my car wouldn't start. I said my car started fine, I needed my muffler wired. Expressing great annoyance, he sputtered that no one told HIM that! He continued to say all he had was some duck tape and a bungee cord and both would melt from the heat of my muffler. I went into the unlovely service station, and asked if they had any wire. By this time, I thought I should carry wire with me and fix the damn thing myself. Acquiring the wire, I gave it to Young Surly, who reattached my muffler in such a remarkably wobbly fashion I expected it to fall off again. Happily, I managed the drive to my mechanic and had a new strap installed before I lost my muffler altogether. Since first the screw broke, and then the strap, I'm sure the next thing to go will be the muffler itself. Perhaps I should carry a spare muffler in my trunk! It would save me a good deal of grief.